Solar Urja through Localisation for Sustainability or SoULS, an initiative by IIT Bombay, includes active interventions
based on implementation & system science perspectives to help provide abundant clean energy access in rural India by developing a sustainable,
localised solar eco-system.
At the heart of every developmental milestone lies the power of the people. When technology that is clean, renewable, sustainable and affordable reaches the grassroots where it is most needed, the positive impact can be staggering. What makes it work is the ability of the locals to take up the responsibility, ownership and mobilization of using that technology to create change.
Right to LightEvery child has a right to education. Yet, the conditions in which a child can study are generally neglected, especially in rural India. Even today, 40% families in India use kerosene as the main source for lighting (Census 2011). Kerosene fumes that blow out of a kerosene lantern when studying at night is harmful to health and can cause damage to the lungs and eyes. What every child deserves is the right to clean light - that causes no harm, is renewable and affordable.
LocalizationThe solar lamps are assembled locally, used by local people and serviced by the locals. By transferring technical skills and knowledge and training locals to use technology, they cease to become dependent on anyone. Local assembly not only results in employment generation, but also allows the locals themselves to repair and maintain the solar products in the future. This local repairing capability will help increase product lifetime, and eventually, build confidence in solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology.
SaturationA solar lamp in the hands of every school child will make an enormous difference in their education. To make a discernible impact, every school child in a region (a particular block in a district) should have a solar lamp. On an average, a block in India has 17,600 school children studying in 5th to 12th standard. The endeavour of this project is to reach out to at least 75% of these school children of every block. The timely and quick distribution of these lamps to the school children is necessary so that the current generation benefits. Further, the saturation will help in the continuous assessment of the impact of the solar lamps. Due to subsidization at the local level, it is affordable even to the poorest at Rs. 100 per lamp.
DoabilityNon-governmental organizations (NGOs) are selected as our institutional partners for implementing this project. These NGOs are selected through various criteria – outreach, credibility, infrastructure, staff and familiarity with the region. The NGOs are established in their states and have considerable experience of implementing developmental work in the region. They have the necessary infrastructure and systems in place to carry out medium and large scale projects. Their knowledge of the people, the culture, language and the region makes implementation smoother. These NGOs closely coordinate with IIT Bombay to train and empower the locals to assemble and distribute the lamps, to saturate the block.
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